City purchases properties for trails, parks and open spaces

Purchases add unique value to their neighborhoods and entire community

January 19, 2023 - by Nicole Oliver, Director, Parks & Recreation Department

The City purchased several important properties in 2022, extending the legacy of parks and greenways in Bellingham, fulfilling adopted goals for equity and access, and adding unique value to the neighborhoods where they are located and in the entire community.

2022 purchases

In 2022, seven properties totaling approximately 42 acres were purchased in locations throughout the City, funded with Greenways levy funds and park impact fee revenue. Each was reviewed and approved by the Parks and Recreation Board and Greenways Advisory Committee prior to City Council consideration and approval.  These acquisitions facilitate future trail connectivity, permanently protect wildlife habitat, and expand the existing network of open space, parks and trails around the City.

  • Chuckanut Creek – This 1.5-acre residential property fronts Chuckanut Creek on the north and the City’s Chuckanut Bay Open Space to the west and south. Chuckanut Creek currently supports runs of chum and coho salmon, and winter steelhead trout. The existing house near the creek will be removed following an evaluation of the site for restoration and future trail connectivity to Woodstock Farm.
  • East Bear Creek – These 20 acres of forested wetlands add to the City’s East Bear Creek Open Space, located between Northwest Drive and Aldrich Road, bringing the total for the site to 100 acres. The new acquisition provides land for a future trailhead and will eventually connect to Julianna Neighborhood Park and Cordata Community Park to the east.
  • Interurban Greenway and Hoag’s Pond – Two undeveloped residential parcels (1/3 acre) were purchased adjacent to the Hundred Acre Wood, Hoag’s Pond, and Interurban Greenway. Thanks to a generous donor, a third undeveloped parcel (1/10 acre) was accepted by the City as a donation to be used for park and trail purposes. City-ownership of these properties expands open space, protects water quality, and buffers important forested wetlands.
  • Squalicum Creek – This 17.5-acre purchase at the corner of Hannegan Rd and Sunset Drive extends the greenway east of Sunset Pond and protects over a thousand feet of Squalicum Creek. The upland area along Sunset Drive provides a potential development area and a future trail connection to the Bay to Baker Trail, while protecting sensitive wetlands and riparian habitat below.
  • Happy Valley – Purchase of these two parcels (1/3 acre) improves visibility and access to the existing Happy Valley Neighborhood Park. Access improvements and additional park amenities are currently planned for 2026. (Details here.)
  • Post Point Lagoon – These two forested parcels (1.43 acres) are located along Shorewood Drive adjacent to the Post Point Resource Recovery Plant. This purchase was in partnership with the Whatcom Land Trust to protect the active Post Point Heron Colony and minimize disturbance to the rookery. (Details here.)

Additional acquisitions are planned and budgeted for 2023-2024, to be guided by the City’s Parks, Recreation, and Open Space Plan and the recently adopted Greenways Strategic Plan. The Greenways Strategic Plan, developed by the Greenways Advisory Committee with support from Parks & Recreation staff, was adopted by the Bellingham City Council on December 12, 2022.

Media Contact

Nicole Oliver, Director
Parks & Recreation Department
(360) 778-7000 or

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